Fisheries sector infrastructure improves under Trinamool

The State Fisheries Department has endeavoured to give every manner of infrastructural help to fishermen, including fish research facilities to increase yield and to experiment on newer and more profitable species.

Storage infrastructure: As part of the ‘cold chain scheme’, the department has been sanctioned money for the construction of cold storages and, through the distribution of bicycles with insulated boxes, the development of transit and terminal markets, including retail outlets. Eight cold storages and six ice plants have been constructed.

Khuti societies: The State Government provides financial aid for the development of khuti societies, that is, fish drying centres. A total of 53 khuti societies in Contai and Diamond Harbour benefit from this aid. Considering essential aspects, the aid includes money for the operation and maintenance of the khutis or fish drying centres, including wages for khuti attendants and sweepers, development of khuti infrastructure like link roads, submersible pumps, solar lights, fish-drying platforms and bamboo structures, supply of hygienic materials and small equipments, and the repair of tube-wells.

Fishing harbours and fish landing centres: Under the department, there are seven minor fishing harbours and 13 fish landing centres. The entry channel at Kakdwip Harbour has been completed. Benfish has constructed modernised fish markets in Kalyani (Nadia district), Bolpur (Birbhum district), Uluberia (Howrah district) and Gangarampur (Dakshin Dinajpur district). Five fish landing centres have been recently constructed benefiting 8,700 fishermen in Indrapur, Satyadaspur, Kantamari, Raidighi/Domkal, Kheyaghat and Namkhana in South 24 Parganas.

Hatchery accreditation: Nineteen hatcheries have been constructed to ensure production of quality fish seed, and 231 hatcheries have been accredited.

Fish markets: Ten fish markets have been constructed – fish seed markets in Sinhati (Bankura district) and Rajendrapur (North 24 Parganas), wholesale and retail fish markets in Haldibari (Cooch Behar), Bolpur (Birbhum), Kalyani (Nadia), Fuleshwar (Howrah) and Udayrampur (South 24 Parganas), Nalban International Ornamental Fish Market, Kantamari (South 24 Parganas) and Jharkhali (South 24 Parganas) markets. Besides these, the upgrading of the wholesale fish market in Howrah is in progress.

Fish research centres: The department is setting up block-level laboratory-cum-training centres for testing water and soil of water bodies to determine suitability for pisciculture. So far 308 have been built; another 25 have been sanctioned. Research on fish and fisheries is being conducted at Pailan Research Centre in South 24 Parganas. At the Fresh Water Research Centre in Kulia near Kalyani in Nadia district, research is being carried out on production of seeds of freshwater fish, including endangered species, ornamental or aquarium fish, etc. The latter has a high export value. Rural women are being trained on ornamental fishery.

Hilsa production & research: To combat the issue of the decline in the catch of hilsa over the past decade, a dedicated Hilsa Conservation and Research Centre (HCRC) has been established at Sultanpur, Diamond Harbour, in collaboration with the Norwegian research institute, Norwegian Institute of Food Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (NOFIMA).

Brackish water fishery: The Government provides substantial aid for increasing the production of fish in regions of brackish water, mainly found in the Sundarbans delta.

The above facts prove that the Trinamool Congress Government is committed to the all-round development of the fisheries sector.

State Govt looking after all aspects of fishermen’s welfare

The State Fisheries Department has taken several important measures for the welfare of fishermen, both in professional and personal aspects.

Professional welfare

Primary among the professional welfare facilities are fish transportation facilities, biometric identity cards and on-sea distress alert systems.

Fish transportation facilities: Various fish transportation facilities have been distributed by the State Government – 7,300 Jal-Hundis to inland and marine fishermen as well as among fishermen’s cooperative societies, 1,237 Matsyajans, 10,500 bicycles with insulated boxes as well as 35,000 insulated boxes.

Identity facilitation: Biometric identity cards are being issued by the Government to marine fishermen; about 2.47 lakh identity cards have already been issued. Marine fishing vessels are being registered under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (for mechanised boats) and the West Bengal Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1993 (for non-mechanised boats).

Distress alert: For the safety and security of fishermen, the Government has taken up a programme for the free distribution of distress alert transmitters (DAT), to be fitted on to the vessels. A total of 3,656 DATs have been distributed till now.

Mechanised boats: A total of 593 mechanised boats – 93 six-cylinder boats and 500 two-cylinder boats – have been distributed as of now, benefiting 3,430 marine fishermen.

Personal welfare

Several personal welfare initiatives have also been taken for fishermen and their families, including pension for the old, insurance schemes and dwelling units.

Old Age Pension Scheme: The Old Age Pension Scheme is a scheme meant for retired and infirm fishermen. Under this scheme, 56,500 fishermen are getting a pension of Rs 1,000 per month.

Accident insurance: Under Fishermen’s Group Personal Insurance Scheme, financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh is provided to the family members of deceased or untraceable marine fishermen, and Rs 1 lakh to those of permanently disabled marine fishermen. During financial year (FY) 2017-18, 2,21,563 fishermen were covered.

Dwelling units: 14,500 houses have been provided for fishermen and their families.


All these prove that the Trinamool Congress Government has given the utmost attention to the welfare of all fisher-folk in the State, ensuring help in every way possible.

Fisheries sector policies of the Bengal Govt benefiting fishermen

The State Government has created several policies for the development of the fisheries sector. The important ones are given below.

West Bengal Fisheries Investment Policy 2015:For attracting substantial investments in the fisheries sector, the Government has promulgated the West Bengal Fisheries Investment Policy 2015. From FY 2015-17 till now, 30 projects have been initiated at an investment (by both private and Government players) of Rs 339.35 crore. During the Bengal Global Business Summit 2018, 19 memorandums of understanding (MoU) worth Rs 760.3 crore were signed.

Amendment of method of settlement of Government waterbodies:The chapter dedicated to Government water bodies in the West Bengal Land & Land Reforms Manual was amended by the State Government with the intention of infusing better competitiveness and adoption of scientific methods of pisciculture and thereby increasing the production of fish. This step has boosted rural employment generation and optimum use of Government fisheries as a resource by giving priority in the tendering process to functional fishermen’s cooperative societies, fish production groups and self-help groups (SHG).

Training and extension:The number of fishermen who have received training has gone up from 6,170 in 2010-11 to 16,394 in 2017-18. Awareness camps in the form of Krishi Mela, Wetland Day, Fish Farmers’ Day, etc., are being regularly organised.


Bengal Tourism’s Go-Fishing Project to help people experience fisher folk lifestyle

West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) has started their ‘go-fishing’ project, which will unravel a natural ‘real time’ fishing experience for the urban populace. The half-a-day trip to river will open the door to explore rural Bengal, state tourism department hopes.

In two separate trips – Namkhana, South 24 Parganas and Gadiara, Howrah were recently launched by WBTDC and have become very popular. Besides popularising the fishing trends of rural Bengal among the urban people, the government also sees the holistic benefits of such project. The Bay of Bengal basin contains one of the richest fish source in India. The bulk of the population depends on fishing, but the nature could only provide them a meagre living.

Most of the Bengali fisher folks are living below the poverty line. But the numbers of the fishermen are growing with time as it is the only suitable profession there. The experts also believe that rising level of sea is also encourages the neighbourhood to take fishing as their only profession. Such projects, taken by WBTDC help out the poor fishermen and their families to live a good life and earn some extra money apart from their regular earnings. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government took the development of the coastline a few years ago.

The go-fishing is worlds apart from stereotypical tourism package which could not only bring an outstanding experience for tourists, but raise a new hope for the poor fishermen’s tomorrow. The cost of the trip is pocket-friendly. It will cost only Rs 1,150 for a tourist. The journey will start from the state Tourism centre. At around 7:30 am, the tourists will leave the Tourism centre with packed breakfast. The team of tourists will reach Namkhana at around 11 am. They will be taken to the waterfront and then to the fishing boats. After a brief tea session on the boats, they will join hands with the fishermen. All the tourists have to bring their personal fishing equipment including fishing rod. The local folk singer will be there to sing. Tourists can gorge on local Bengali cuisine prepared by the fishermen’s wives. WBTDC will arrange packaged drinking water on board. At around 3.30 pm, the tourists will come back to the shore. They will take the buses to come back to Kolkata by 6.30 pm.


মৎস্য শিকারীদের জন্য চালু হল ‘গো-ফিশিং’

মৎস্য শিকারীদের জন্য ‘গো-ফিশিং’ প্রকল্প নিয়ে এল রাজ্য পর্যটন দপ্তর। এই প্রকল্পের মাধ্যমে তারা মাছ ধরার আসল অভিজ্ঞতা লাভ করতে পারবেন। একটি অর্ধদিবসের নদী ভ্রমণের মাধ্যমে পর্যটকরা গ্রাম বাংলাকে আরও ভাল করে চেনার সুযোগ পাবেন।

দু’টি পৃথক স্থান ঠিক করা হয়েছে এই অর্ধদিবসের ‘গো-ফিশিং’ ভ্রমণের জন্য, দক্ষিণ ২৪ পরগনা জেলার নামখানা ও হাওড়া জেলার গাদিয়াড়া। শুধুমাত্র যে এই প্রকল্পের মাধ্যমে গ্রামবাংলার মাছধরার জনপ্রিয়তা শহরবাসীদের কাছে বাড়বে, তা নয়। পাশাপাশি এই ধরনের প্রকল্পে পর্যটক সামগ্রিক আনন্দ লাভ করবে।

বেশির ভাগ মৎস্যজীবী দারিদ্রসীমার নিচে বাস করে। তা সত্ত্বেও মৎস্যজীবীদের সংখ্যা বেড়ে চলেছে। কারণ, ওইসকল অঞ্চলে আর সেই অর্থে জীবিকা কিছু নেই। বিশেষজ্ঞরা আবার এও মনে করেন, গ্লোবাল ওয়ার্মিংয়ের ফলে সমুদ্রের জল বেড়ে যাওয়ার কারনেই সমুদ্রের পার্শ্ববর্তী অঞ্চলের মানুষরা মাছ ধরাকে জীবিকা হিসেবে বেছে নিচ্ছেন। রাজ্য সরকারের এই উদ্যোগে দরিদ্র মৎস্যজীবীরা তাদের দৈনিক আয়ের পাশাপাশি আরও কিছু অতিরিক্ত আয়ের সুযোগ পাবেন। মুখ্যমন্ত্রী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের নেতৃত্বাধীন রাজ্য সরকার কয়েক বছর আগেই সমুদ্রের পার্শ্ববর্তী অঞ্চলের উন্নয়নের কাজ শুরু করেছেন।

এই ‘গো-ফিশিং’ প্রকল্প একঘেয়ে ট্যুর প্যাকেজের থেকে একদম আলাদা। এই প্রকল্পে পর্যটকদের চিত্ত বিনোদনের পাশাপাশি দরিদ্র মৎস্যজীবী সম্প্রদায়ের মানুষও বেশ কিছু নতুন আশার আলো পাবেন।

এই ট্যুরের খরচ সাধারন মানুষের আয়ত্তের মধ্যেই। জন পিছু ১১৫০ টাকা লাগবে এই ভ্রমণে। সকাল ৭.৩০-এ রাজ্য পর্যটন দপ্তর থেকে এই যাত্রা শুরু হবে, প্রত্যেককে প্যাক করা জলখাবার দেওয়া হবে। তারা নামখানা পৌঁছবেন আনুমানিক বেলা ১১ টায়। এর পর তাদের মাছ ধরার নৌকোয় নিয়ে যাওয়া হবে।

নৌকোয় চা পানের পর পর্যটকরা মৎস্যজীবীদের সহযোগিতা করবেন। প্রত্যেক পর্যটককে তার নিজস্ব মাছ ধরার সামগ্রী নিয়ে যেতে হবে। স্থানীয় লোকশিল্পীরা ওখানে সঙ্গীত পরিবেশন করবেন। খাবার ও পানীয় জলের ব্যাবস্থা থাকবে। বিকেল ৩.৩০  নাগাদ যাত্রীরা বাসে ফিরে আসবেন ও সন্ধ্যা ৬.৩০ এ কলকাতা ফিরবে।


Image is representative.

Bengal Govt takes initiative to install Emergency Alert System in fishing trawlers

To protect the lives of fishermen at the time distress while sailing in the sea, the Bengal Fisheries department has taken a unique initiative to install emergency alert system in all the fishing trawlers.

In some trawlers, the distress alarm technology has been used but the government has a plan to set up the device in all the fishing trawlers in the state. Through the emergency alert system, the fishermen can draw the attention of the Coast Guard if there is any danger in the sea or in case of a natural calamity.

The fishermen have to press a distress alarm and the message will be automatically delivered to the Coast Guard officials and they would be able to take prompt action to help the fishermen in distress.

The State Fisheries department will install the emergency alarms in all the fishing boats. The work has already started. The department is also conducting awareness drive among the fishing folk to check the misuse of distress alarm. If the distress alarms are misused, it would be difficult for the rescue team to track down the fishing boat which is actually in distress.

The State Fisheries department is working on how to check the misuse of the distress alarm. An awareness campaign would be conducted among the fishing community so that they do not trigger emergency alarm without a purpose. The department is also contemplating on imposing a fine on the owners of the trawlers if they are found misusing the distress alarm, despite of the campaign. The department will take the final decision in this regard.

A fine may be imposed on the owners of the fishing trawlers in case of misuse. The state government may also cancel the license of the fishing trawlers if there are repeated incidents of misuse of the distress alarm by a particular trawler in addition to the fines. In few occasions, it has been noticed that fishermen press the distress alarm without a valid reason.

The Bengal government also announced financial benefits to the family members in case a fisherman dies due to an attack by pirates in the sea. The deceased’s family members would be given Rs 2 lakh.

The Fisheries department is also giving financial assistance to the fishing community during the off season. The new schemes have improved the socio-economic condition of the fishing community in the state. A pension scheme has also been introduced by the state government to improve the quality of life of people involved in fishing.


রাজ্য সরকারের উদ্যোগে মাছ ধরার ট্রলারগুলিতে এবার ‘এমারজেন্সি এলার্ট সিস্টেম’ বসানো হবে

যে মৎস্যজীবীরা নিজেদের জীবন বিপন্ন করে সমুদ্রে মাছ ধরতে যান তাদের সুরক্ষা নিশ্চিত করতে এক অভিনব উদ্যোগ নিল রাজ্য মৎস্য দপ্তর। এখন থেকে মাছ ধরতে যাওয়ার ট্রলারগুলিতে ‘এমারজেন্সি এলার্ট সিস্টেম’ বসানো হবে।

বর্তমানে কিছু ট্রলারে এই ব্যাবস্থা আছে। কিন্তু রাজ্য সরকারের পরিকল্পনা অনুযায়ী এবার সব ট্রলারে বসানো হবে এই ‘এমারজেন্সি এলার্ট সিস্টেম’। এর ফলে মৎস্যজীবীরা যেকোনও প্রতিকূল অবস্থায় উপকুলরক্ষী বাহিনীর সঙ্গে যোগাযোগ করতে পারবেন। এই যন্ত্রের একটি বোতাম টিপলেই উপকুলরক্ষী বাহিনীর আধিকারিকদের কাছে তার বার্তা পৌঁছে যাবে।

ট্রলার ছাড়াও মাছ ধরার ছোট নৌকোগুলিতেও এই যন্ত্র বসানো হবে। এই কাজ ইতিমধ্যেই শুরু হয়ে গেছে। মৎস্যজীবীদের সচেতন করতে কিছু প্রশিক্ষণ কর্মসূচীও গ্রহণ করেছে মৎস্য দপ্তর।

রাজ্য সরকার আগেই ঘোষণা করেছেন জলদস্যুর হাতে কোনও মৎস্যজীবীর মৃত্যু হলে তার পরিবারকে দু’লক্ষ টাকা ক্ষতিপূরণ দেওয়া হবে।

মৎস্য দপ্তর মৎস্যজীবীদের অফ-সিজনে আর্থিক সাহায্যও করে থাকে। মৎস্যজীবীদের জন্য একটি পেনশন প্রকল্পও চালু করেছে রাজ্য সরকার।


India’s first fish hospital to come up in Kolkata

A fish hospital — the first of its kind in the country — will become operational in Kolkata in two-three months. The hospital, with facilities to diagnose and treat ailments in fish commercially bred in the state, will help farmers increase their produce.

The building has already been constructed and electrical work is in progress. The aim of the hospital will be to find out what ailments the fish bred in the state suffer from and help farmers increase the yield. The hospital is coming up at Panchasayar’s Chakgaria in Kolkata.

The facility comprises 50 glass aquariums and 25 circular water tanks to house the fish. The hospital will first diagnose and treat fish that are bred by farmers. At a later stage, efforts may be made to find out ailments that wild fish, caught along Bengal’s coast, suffer from.

Farmers can approach the hospital whenever they suspect a problem with their fish. They can report abnormalities like change in colour or size. They can even bring in samples for diagnosis and treatment.